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About DancesWithHeadCement

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  • Birthday 03/05/1958

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  1. Outside of wings, never use more than 4 turns of thread to tie in anything. By the time the fly is finished you'll have plenty of wraps over the material to hold it permanently.
  2. Alex dropped me a note, so I'll see if I can save you some confusion... Angelina fibers are available in different lengths (2" to 8"), different thicknesses (denier), soft crimp, regular crimp, straight, hot melt, or non melt. It appears some colors are only available in certain deniers which complicates things a bit. The makers of Angelina also make Crystalina which is a really coarse version of angelina - the fibers are much heavier denier and are suitable for large flies. 7.5 denier is super fine, and is as easy as fur to dub. 15 denier is the most common size and can be dubbed or tied in like bucktail (especially the straight, which acts almost like hair). "Soft Crimp" is Ice Dub - and is not to be confused with regular "crimped" angelina ... Soft Crimp resembles fur and is 2" fibers (Ice dub is 1") and Regular Crimp is much heavier fiber and is 4" long hair. Yes, it's confusing - the simplest way to see all of this is to order some of each. I prefer the 15 denier straight hot melt fibers, and the soft crimp (which is really hard to get at the moment.) The straight fibers can be dubbed by themselves for a coarse iridescent effect, can be chopped into < 1" pieces and mixed with regular dubbing for a "seal fur" effect, or can be tied in as streamer wings and trimmed to whatever length you need. Hot melt fibers can be placed on a sheet of paper (best to do so in a cross-hatch pattern) and put another piece over the top. Pass a warm iron over it 5-6 times and it melts the fibers into a shiny fabric - looks very much like mayfly wings. Don't place the material all in one direction as the fabric tears easier - lay some perpindicular and some at an angle so the resultant fabric resists tearing from any angle. When buying Angelina (many of the vendors links are available in the articles Alex mentioned) always pay attention to the DENIER you're buying, stay with 15 for most applications; get one bag of a different size to assess the difference before buying 20 colors ... it'll save you some grief. (The above fly by Daytripper is the 15 denier Copper color, it's a great color to fiddle with...) Angelina is also available in sheets like paper and if you crumple it - it looks just like the wing veins on a mayfly wing. I have two streamers I stuck in my sun visor 6 months ago to test for color fade - as I live in 100 degree summertime area - no evidence of fade or curling due to the heat. The interesting thing is the same folks actually make metal Angelina - but it's not iridescent. It's copper or aluminum fiber that's so fine you can dub the metal onto thread. I bought one pack of each to see it - and it's really strange stuff ... I figure it may turn green (copper) if left on a fly for a season or two. Hold off on this stuff as it's uses are limited - but you can make a helluva "secret" fly with it - as nobody else has dubbed metal bodies... There's a lot of conflicting information in some of the articles I wrote - as the earliest lacked me seeing all the different options (crimp, melt, etc) the company offered. You can send me an email if you've additional questions. Good Luck
  3. In the smallest sizes, #20 and below, I prefer the straight eye to anything else as it doesn't obscure the small amount of purchase the hook has (the gape) ... I use the 101 for most of the little stuff, midges and the like - as mentioned by the response above.
  4. Overweighting and underweighting a fly rod has many uses as described above. Rod manufacturer's don't always build rods for a single line weight - the old Powell Rod Co. in California is a prime example, Walton's rods were listed as 5-6-7 or 8-9-10, implying that all three could be used. One of the best things about using a larger or smaller line size is that the increased weight (or decreased) can tailor the rod action to the style you prefer most. Actions are typically mentioned as "Fast" - "Medium" - or "Slow" ... which normally describes the top 1/3 flexing (fast), 1/2 the rod flexing (medium), or the rod flexing from tip to butt (slow). If you have a "tippy" or fast action rod, yet prefer a medium action, just bump the line weight up until it's action is to your liking. Rods aren't fragile, and can accomodate two or three line sizes larger or smaller with no ill effects (other than the rod action changing). What the vendor claims the rod throws best is not always true - it's a combination of the "feel" you like in the rod, coupled with the physics... as a 2 weight can throw a 13 weight line, but it might do so poorly. I commonly fish line sizes other than what's listed on the blank, mostly for "feel" reasons, I tailor the rod to act the way I like best.
  5. Absolutely stunning tip, Ephemerella. I went to look up "Iris Scissors" on eBay and there were dozens of types and a ton of folks selling them. Iris wasn't alone, there are plenty of other flavors and lengths as well - including serrated and carbide. Stainless steel surgical scissors from Germany for $9.99? You cannot touch that price, and I recognized many of the brands as selling for quite a bit more. I do not care for the cheap Dr. Slick stuff - and to get scissors of this quality for cheaper than the fly shop prices is unheard of.... Great find - Thou art the Man. PS - Because of the postage costs of eBAY, I would see if you could deduce the vendor's actual web site and order there. Often the web site has much cheaper postage costs than the eBay offering, especially for a $9.99 item (it's tough to pay $9 for the item and $10 for the postage). It's usually easy enough to find the URL in the eBay advert.
  6. A good fly pattern database lists the patterns and their corresponding materials, one is available on this site if you know the names of the flies you're interested in tying. I would describe "characteristics" of flies as loosely tied to the materials used in their construction. The materials dictate the style with which they're attached - and in turn dictate some of the features of the finished fly. An example might be the use of deer hair to substitute for a wing or tail material that floats poorly. I think pictures speak more eloquently than I do - wander over to the fly pattern database and browse the many thousands of patterns listed - that should drive your materials list - and the ability to recognize some of the characteristics (common to many) you're looking for...
  7. Ack! Tungsten carbide scissors are phenomenal, they're also very expensive and brittle. Tungsten is among the hardest metals and holds an edge better as a result - the negatives are that with the hardness comes a metal that shatters easily. I've used these scissors from Bill Hunter and medical supply houses for 30 years. The first pair owned did exactly what you describe - the screw loosened badly and eventually it became so bad I had to discard them. The reason was ME - I used the scissors to cut absolutely everything from bead chain to bucktail and they're not designed for this purpose. It's the fine edge and tiny tips that are the reason you purchased them - but the strain at the center pin of cutting the wrong materials (or too much material) was what caused that area to weaken. The second set has lasted for over 25 years, all I did was use a heavier (non carbide) shear for cutting the larger materials and preserved the fine scissors for the in-close delicate work. I wrote an article on the subject a bit ago - and included links to the medical supply houses that stock hundreds of types and styles - you'll see the really fine stuff (ceramic carbide) can go as high as $250 a pair. Good german stainless can be as low as $29.00. If you buy any of the carbides scissors, modify your behavior just a tiny bit and you'll get a lifetime of use from them.
  8. Nice pattern, I was just browsing some loopwing patterns over at Daytripper's site - now this ... I feel the creative urge brewing... KB
  9. If we're talking traditional lead head jigs, I would err on the side of chenille, as its a bit tougher than dubbed fur - and can take more abuse. Everything mentioned above by Mikalo and Cutthroat are also quite valid - but knowing the abuse a flung jig takes, I would go with a tightly woven chenille versus dubbing wrapped by a single thread. You'll be dragging them over all kinds of underwater objects - I figure the dubbing will give up the ghost before the chenille will.
  10. The strip up the spine usually has the best markings - the kind needed for deer hair dry flies (deer used as wing). Other areas have different uses - the hair is longer, or softer, or flairs better for deer hair bass bugs. Regardless of what you use it for the spinal strip typically has the best coloration, and you may want to segregate that for your use.
  11. Great hooks - and hard to beat the price. They allow you to order a 1000 pack comprised of hooks and styles of your choice, lowers the price to about $6.80 per hundred. Not yet available in all the ranges and styles of the larger vendors, but I've replaced all the "standard dry" and "standard nymph" hooks with these.
  12. I switched to Togen last season, about $7.00 per hundred and wonderful hooks. They don't yet have the full range of sizes and shapes that other vendors have - but for the price they are hard to beat. Been having a hell of a time getting Tiemco's and the like from fly shops, it's like they don't stock as much as before - what with the "50 pack" replacing the "100 pack" as the standard. Not having a fly shop nearby means when I hit one - I want 200-300 hooks at a crack. It's rare when that many of a single size are available (at the shops near me).
  13. EMU is almost identical to ostrich in it's usage - the plumes have the same fuzzy, fiberous makeup that you get from a large ostrich plume. I get Emu from the feather dusters you find in grocery or hardware stores, light grey - a bit darker in the center by the stem. Works wonderful.
  14. Back in the 80's Ted Niemeyer made a lot of flies with porcupine quills, he used them for tails and legs on stonefly nymphs, and even mashed them flat and wound them as bodies. They never found much favor as they're dangerous to have floating loose in a material box, or when you forget the 2" piece of hide you left in some dark drawer. Lot's of things you can do with them, just make sure you secure them well if you save them. Plastic bags are not safe - the quill will penetrate it like butter, I used a small cardboard box with a "skull and crossbones" to remind me what was inside.
  15. There is no norm...nothing is off limits, nothing sacred. I think I went off the deep end when the neighbors medium blue dun cat wanted to be scratched ... I'm looking at the fur in my hand and combed snot out of the little beast. He didn't mind and neither did I. As long as the material has some quality that can be used, go for it. Synthetic materials especially, as most of the common ones we use came from some other industry and were never designed for fly tyers. A household pet should be harvested "naturally" otherwise you got some serious 'splaining to do when the dog's arse is bald as a cue ball. It's a renewable resource - don't "clearcut" more than a couple of square feet at a time...
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